At my company, we’re pretty big on continuous learning. It’s not so much which corner of tech you are learning about, as that you are expanding your professional horizons. Knowing that many of you are the same way, I thought I’d offer some insight into the state of online education and online certification in the wake of COVID-19.
As luck would have it, just as COVID-19 was gearing up, my company purchased a CBTNuggets subscription for me. This is a sweet benefit if you like to learn about areas of IT that you don’t normally work in, or brush up on bits you do work in but want to get more out of. The only reason I prefixed this with “as luck would have it” is because COVID-19 has brought a lot of change to the training and certification market—most of it for the good of users.
Pearson Vue is now offering online proctored exams. For those who sponsor the certifications, they have a choice about whether to participate with online examinations or not. Some do, some don’t, both for good reasons. Check if the exam you’ve been waiting for is available online now. Considering CompTIA testing is included in Pearson’s options, this is worth checking out. Note that Microsoft is also a VUE client, so an increasing number of MS exams are available online. This was in-process before, but is accelerated due to the current situation.
DevOps Institute has long done online exams, and offers a worthy collection of certifications to look into. In fact, there is a lot of free (or registration-only) training on the DevOps Institute’s sight, not just certifications. It is definitely worth checking out.
Cisco has expanded online testing for many of its exams. Now might be a good time to take that exam you just couldn’t get to a testing center for.
We paid a fair amount for CBTNuggets, but if learning (as opposed to certification) is your goal, it’s worth the money if you/your employer are willing to shell it out. To the point, the fee is one-off. Use all the training you want for the annual fee, so the value is limited only by your available time and motivation.
Some of us in IT really don’t have that much free time right now, as supporting a suddenly huge remote workforce is a surprise burden, but if you are one of the lucky ones that isn’t struggling with an unexpected expansion, now is definitely a good time to enhance your skills and learn some new things. The CompTIA Linux courses are a good place for Windows fans to start, and the introductory Windows Admin courses are a good place for Penguins to start. But you all know that.
Note that there are a few organizations out there that do not want to participate in online proctoring or testing because they worry about cheapening the exam because leaks of exact questions are far easier in an online setting. Don’t be too hard on them, they want to preserve the value of their certifications for those who have earned them–a worthy goal, whether you think it wise in the current environment or not. I know of two organizations that fit this category, so I thought I’d mention it.
Stay safe, keep rocking it and hopefully you have some time to pick up some training or certifications.
Note: This list is just things I am aware of. Please leave any other training options as a comment and help your fellows out.